China will ease the restrictions on qualified foreign institutional investors (QFIIs) seeking to invest in the stock market, with the aim of attracting long-term funds, the Shenzhen-based Securities Times reported Monday.
According to the rule change jointly made by the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the People's Bank of China, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, QFIIs may directly open stock investment accounts.
In a major adjustment, the new rules, which come into effect on September 1, stipulate that priority of QFII licensing will be given to long-term assets management institutions such as endowment funds, insurance funds, mutual funds and charity funds.
The assets management institutions are required to have operated businesses for over five years and have managed securities assets of at least US$5 billion in the most recent accounting year.
According to the adjustment, fund managers and insurance companies are required to have managed securities assets of no less than US$5 billion in the most recent accounting year, down from the previous US$10 billion.
Insurance companies that have a business history of more than five years, instead of the previously over 30 years, are qualified to apply for QFII status, according to the new rules.
The new rules will also abolish the paid-in capital requirement for insurance company applicants, which are previously required to have a paid-in capital of no less than US$1 billion.
Measures on QFII status for banks and securities companies will remain unchanged. Their managing assets must be no less than US$10 billion.
China will expand QFII funds gradually and bolster its support for QFIIs, which focus on long-term investment, reported the newspaper, citing the country's securities watchdog.
To ease pressure of capital flow, the new rules also stipulate that China's forex watchdog can readjust the date and amount of QFIIs' remittance and repatriation of principals according to the financial situation and the relationship between supply and demand of the foreign exchange market.
(Chinadaily.com.cn July 24, 2007)